China on Wednesday urged both North Korea and the U.S. to create “favorable conditions” for the staging of the slated summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid DPRK threats to cancel the event.
North Korea issued two articles via state media on Tuesday and Wednesday that threatened the summit, which is scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore.
“All parties concerned, especially the DPRK and the United States, should move toward each other, release each other’s goodwill and sincerity, create favorable conditions and (an) atmosphere for the leaders’ meeting, and realize the denuclearization of the peninsula,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Wednesday.
The spokesperson also reiterated the Chinese proposal of a freeze-for-freeze or “double suspension” deal between the U.S. and the DPRK, which would see North Korea halt missile and nuclear tests in return for the U.S. suspending joint military drills with South Korea.
“We believe this will help all parties to build mutual trust and create necessary conditions for solving problems through dialogue,” he said.
North Korea has already said it has suspended such testing without requesting the U.S. stop its cooperative military drills and during a meeting in Pyongyang earlier in March, Kim Jong Un reportedly told South Korean special envoys that he “understands” that the exercises “must continue.”
On Tuesday, a DPRK state media article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) announced the cancellation of a planned inter-Korean meeting on the same day over the Max Thunder joint U.S.-ROK military exercises currently being staged in South Korea.
Lu also commented on the cancellation of the planned inter-Korean talks on Tuesday.
“We support and hope that the DPRK and South Korea can fully demonstrate their understanding and respect for each other’s legitimate concerns in accordance with the spirit of dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation embodied in the Panmunjom Declaration, and they can work together to build mutual trust and improve relations,” he said.
In a second article also published by KCNA on Wednesday, the DPRK’s first Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan said that North Korea will “reconsider” the summit if Washington forces the country to unilaterally abandon its nuclear weapons.
In the statement issued by Kim Kye Gwan on Wednesday, the vice foreign minister denounced several senior officials at the White House and the U.S. State Department, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, for raising, among other things, the potential for a “Libyan model” for denuclearization.
On Wednesday, U.S. White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders distanced the administration from Bolton’s comments, telling reporters that she had not “seen that as part of any discussions so I’m not aware that that’s a model that we’re using,” according to Reuters.
Kim also condemned comments calling for “Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Denuclearization (CVID)” and “complete discarding of nuclear arsenals and chemical and biological weapons.”
“If the Trump administration comes forward to the DPRK-U.S. summit with sincerity for the improvement of the DPRK-U.S. relations, it will receive the deserved response,” Kim said in the written statement.
Despite the articles threatening the likelihood of the summit, Sanders – in an appearance on Fox News on Wednesday – said the U.S. is “still hopeful that the meeting will take place.”
“We will continue down that path but at the same time … we have been prepared that these could be tough negotiations, the President is ready if these meetings take place and if it doesn’t we will continue the maximum pressure campaign that has been ongoing,” she added.
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Featured Image: "Past and Future" - The Tian'anmen from the Tiananmen Square by Jorge Lascar on 2008-11-25 05:59:19